Raising the Bar and The Comic Book Obsession.

A couple of days ago, I printed a weekly planner to start using it on Monday. Today is Wednesday and I’m already behind. I don’t know about you, but it feels extremely hard to get productive on quarantine. Getting less productive doesn’t mean you are getting less creative. Finding ways to cope and getting yourself entertained during this time is essential not to go crazy. I entertain myself learning how to draw on Procreate. I only have the iPad for about 6 months, but I have been drawing on paper for about 3 years. It’s something that keeps my mind away, I don’t get to focus on anything else but my drawing. Yesterday on my Facebook memories, it showed me the comic strip I created based on my years as a waitress.

I grew up reading comics. My cousin was a collector of Marvel Comics and he used to take a lot of pride in the way he took care of his books. I remember the pile all organized, some of the books still wrapped on plastic and the fascination I had on the unreachable only grew stronger. I also remember being yelled at when I flip the pages of the new ones without permission. I never had permission anyway. Me and my other cousin, same age, used to read it when the owner of the comics was not around, it was a fun, sneaky thing to do as a child. I used to read my own kid’s comics and the English translation for those would be “Monica’s Gang”.

“Monica’s Gang” is a child comic series from Brazil, also translated to English and Spanish, about a group of children living in the same neighborhood having fun, while dealing with different adventures. The cartoonist/creator also implied many different values to the stories and that was the most captivating thing to read, to be able to put yourself in the character’s shoes. Like instead of Rogue and Wolverine with superpowers, you would have a character that is from the countryside having to deal with cousins from the big city, while being a kid, with all the prejudice behind that situation. Another point that wanted me to become a writer, I wanted to be able to create the same kind of story.

A few years ago, while working at the bar in Georgia, I started observing my coworkers. It was a good away to keep the stress levels down and laugh about the situations we were having to deal with. Everyone who has ever worked in a restaurant knows that we have to handle the same type of people over and over, the only difference is on the reactions to certain conditions. From that point, I began to compare all the other restaurants I have worked before and the characters were born into my mind like magic. At home, I started drawing those people and to give them a personality, based on the position they had in the restaurant, like for example, the chef is portrayed like the Wolf. Mean, powerful and loud. The hostess is usually a 20 something naive type of person, I only worked with a mean hostess once. To clarify she was mean to me, not the guests. Another very admirable position at the restaurant is the busboy. Snarky, funny and can cause disaster at the entire dining room in no time. There are multiple characters you can create with this environment, so I started creating comic strips about the restaurant industry. I had all the characters and personality types written and drawn, but I can’t find the piece of paper anywhere. I found the strips, but not the character’s sheet.

Here is one of the first ones:

Bartenders are ruthless. Don’t you dare waste their time with stupid questions

For now, drawing these comics strip its what’s bringing me joy right now. It is indeed a bit hurtful to think about what I’m going to write next because they mostly about situations I had to deal with a lot of pressure. Some of them were funny at the moment, and some of them are just funny now.

Last month, read a graphic novel by Robin Ha, called “Almost American girl”. It’s a memoir of Robin and the struggles she encountered, while moving to the United States from Korea, at 14 years old, with her single mom. As an immigrant, I got emotional while reading the book, because the situation she went through are very similar to what we have to face when we move here from another country.

Thats all I have for this week my writer friends! By the way, I got 9th grade level writing on my WritersWorkers app today. I feel smart!

J. Snell

Buckaroo Banzai.

“On the previous Writing For Comics Workshop, the teacher gave us a prompt, and we had to develop. We had two options The Moon Mall, with a lot of characters, and Pizza Pit. Mine was the first choice. I love malls and…”

I’m trying to keep up with the blog, and as you can see, I’m failing miserably. Working on my full time job, while finishing my full time online bachelor’s writing degree, while also planning my move to Austin,TX, I dont have the time I would like to devote myself to this blog.

I recently read on a book, of one of my favorite authors Mrs. Rachel Hollis, saying “You have to dedicate at least one hour of your days to your own projects”, I get it, and I keep trying, but this extra hour is usually going to my school projects. Does that count as one hour of my day to me? Or do I have to find another hour? Please, send help.

In this July class, we are having Portfolio VI, which is one of the classes you work to polish a previous content you wrote before. Guess what? I’m back with comics!! I do enjoy comics, I do not enjoy the pressure to make write it. Splash page, page by page, act 1, 2 and 3. But hey! I didn’t have to do any lettering (I hope I don’t get a surprise lettering assignment next week), because that was one of the hardest week of school, and I took physics and Math before.

On the previous Writing For Comics Workshop, the teacher gave us a prompt, and we had to develop. We had two options The Moon Mall, with a lot of characters, and Pizza Pit. Mine was the first choice. I love malls and the variety of things that can happen and what you can create if its a Mall placed in the Moon. On this class, we have to polish the previous script, and let me tell you, I rushed to write mine, because I wrote it in 2 hours, right before submit. I work much better under pressure!

I will have to rewrite the entire script, as the goal of this month is making it to 12 pages. A entire comic script will be ready by the end of this month. Heck! I’m proud of myself! Graduation is knocking on my door, and I’m opening.

Here is what I take from two and a half years of Creative Writing Classes, to quote Beyonce: “If my country ass can do it, you can do it!” Yes, I get back to those days, when I didn’t speak any English and I want to encourage people that thinks their english is not good, or they have an accent, or they were not born and raised in this country. I wasn’t either. I started learning english at 15, and only to start somewhat to talk when I was 19. Don’t be scared to say whatever you want to say in your second language. It only because of me babbling words, and making up phrases, I get to be where I’m today. And please, do never, ever, try lose your accent.

Ps: I’m back to write this post two week after. My Comic book Script got a lot of improvements, but still not ready.

Working Girl.

There are days when self-confidence is nowhere to be found. Let’s be real, there are days when all I want to do is stare at the wall or share cat videos on my social media.

There is a certain burden of being connected all the time. I keep thinking of how much happiness and efficiency people can have in just one day. I was talking to a friend yesterday about the social paradox. People are always the happiest, their babies are the cutest and the moms are always sharing something about it, we didn’t ask for. Successful people are a whole different category. They are always shining and their life path is incredible. Can you be that happy all the time, or do you literally want me to feel like I’m not achieving anything? Aww… I’m sorry! Are you trying something new? Look how I’m successful with my first choice of career, I’m doing awesome and I’m not even 30 years old yet! Argh. It’s about time for people to start getting real.

I work in a high class five-star hotel in downtown Chicago. Like where everyone uses a radio to communicate, they wear suits and have their life together. Believe me, they don’t. Hospitality Management was my first career choice when I was 19. At that time, all I wanted to do was travel with my camera, write about it, and boy, I got that wrong. Over the years, I’ve always worked in the hospitality field and usually I get bored, because let me be real, it is boring. There is nothing fresh, ever, your creativity is busted, there is a box on the way in, that says “creativity” and you usually have to drop it there and get it on the way out. Like your keys. You are always trying to accommodate people’s needs. Sometimes you have to take a banana, at 3AM, to the room, because the guest’s kids forgot to do an experiment for the school and he needs it. They need it right now. How could you not bring the banana up here in 15 minutes?? Yeah, that kind of demanding situation. If you are a creative person like me, you cut the banana in pieces and make it into a little heart, write “good luck” on the plate, just to have the guest call back and ask for another banana, because you anticipated the guests needs wrong.

I have to make ends meet until I’m done with Creative Writing School, in September. I’m still not sure of what path I will take after it, I didn’t even call my career advisor yet, because I won’t have the answers she needs to help me out. Last month, I had Writing for Comics Workshop and it was a terrible month. My assignments were piling up, in a crunched timeline. We had to learn Adobe Illustrate in two days in order to make the assigned comic page. Who learns an entirely new piece of software in two days? Yeah sure, if you have nothing else to do in your life, but I work at the Demanding Hotel, my hours are crazy. That’s probably the reason why when I have days off, I stare at the wall. Before this class, I was really into writing for comics, the teacher hit me with a cold bucket of water in my face and I have to find something else to do. Apparently, you have to get connections, you have to be so good, and you have to shine in order to get a job in the field. I’m running out of options here. Help!

The lettering project gone wrong.

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